Kobe Bryant continues to move forward in his rehabilitation from a torn Achilles tendon, though the Los Angeles Lakers are unwilling to put an updated timetable on his exact return.
“He’s progressing well and has met all the targets and milestones of his rehab, and we expect him to make a full recovery,” Lakers spokesman John Black told The Times on Monday. “One of the key issues is to make sure he builds up strength and endurance, not only in his Achilles but also in his legs, knees, back and core.”
Bryant’s initial timetable called for at least six to nine months of recovery after he was injured April 12 against Golden State. The more optimistic part would put him in play for two Lakers exhibition games in China next month, though Bryant is expected to miss the Lakers’ entire eight-game preseason schedule that ends Oct. 25.
The Lakers begin the regular season Oct. 29 against the Clippers. It is unknown whether Bryant will be back in time.
“We’re going to avoid giving a target return date until he’s doing full weight-bearing running and on-court basketball activities, at the earliest,” Black said.
Bryant will be a spectator when the Lakers begin training camp Sept. 28 in El Segundo.
He has periodically posted rehab updates on his Twitter and Facebook accounts, and he said last month in an interview that he had “shattered” the typical timetable for an Achilles tear.
Bryant, who turned 35 last month, enjoyed an extraordinary season statistically, averaging 27.3 points, six assists and 5.6 rebounds for the Lakers before they were swept in the first round of the playoffs without him. He shot 46.3 percent last season, comfortably above his career mark of 45.4 percent.
Bryant will be in his 18th season with the Lakers, who play in Beijing on Oct. 15 and in Shanghai on Oct. 18. There are no plans for Bryant to play those games against the Golden State Warriors, but he will still accompany the team because of his high profile in China.